No, not the singing show.
I'm talking about the one in my head.
I don’t remember exactly when “the voice” began, but it quickly grew very loud. Everyday during practice it says, “you should be doing more.” Not in a “I deserve more postures” kind of way, but in a “you’re not trying hard enough” kind of way. Unless I get on my mat and give every ounce of energy I have through my full practice, I feel like I am letting myself and my teachers down. I hear Tim, in his mostly Danish but also slightly south Indian voice say, “oh, bad lady!” I can somehow hear the head bobble.
It seems everyone else wakes up at 4am, gets on their mat, and devoutly works their way through a sweaty, ninety minute asana practice before I even roll out of bed. And here I am, lazily getting on my mat in the afternoon or evening, and only sometimes doing my full practice (my full practice, technically, is primary series through suptavajrasana in second series). And sometimes only doing the sun salutations and the standing postures. Or doing my full practice but skipping vinyasas. The failure! The shame!
I’m making it sound pretty negative, but I actually have mixed feelings about the voice. It can be my accountabili-buddy. It can drive me to say, “yes, Lisa, we can do that last vinyasa”, or, “no, Lisa, we’re not skipping backbending today”. I’ve definitely made a few breakthroughs in my practice because of that voice. But, on the flip side, I’ve got it to thank for a few injuries as well. I wish I could keep the encouraging part but lose the shame that I associate with not living up to the (arguably impossible) standard I’ve set for myself. I don’t have the answer. This post isn’t going to end with a clear resolution to this dilemma.
But, I will say, I’m feeling more at peace with it all lately. Maybe it isn’t all or nothing. There is so much richness and depth, physically and spiritually, in even the simplest of asanas. Perhaps I would get more out of my full practice. Perhaps I am compromising something. But maybe the real decision, then, is to choose to be ok with that. I think the voice will always be there, pushing me to do more and more. Maybe I should seek to balance it out with another voice, one that is already growing louder by the day. One that says “No need to push. You’re ok just the way you are.”
But then again, maybe not. The ego manipulates and the heart deceives. And let’s not forget what a total lazy ass I can be. But I’m also wholeheartedly devoted to this practice and never miss a day on my mat. What complex creatures we humans are.
Perhaps I’ll have this settled a few lifetimes from now. Stay tuned…